Daniela Fromberg & Stefan Roigk – Unfamiliar Home (Edition Telemark, LP)

In the past two years, the soundscapes of our living spaces have seemed unfamiliar to us more often than we would have liked. Hasn't this also changed our acoustic perception, made the home seem somewhat uncanny? Certainly, but Daniela Fromberg and Stefan Roigk are not concerned with this question, although a title like »Unfamiliar Home« seems to imply it. Rather, the sound art duo processes recordings on it that are roughly ten years old and were first heard in December 2018 as part of a sound installation at ausland. Fromberg and Roigk sonically documented the nerve-racking renovation process of the house they were living in at the time, with closed windows to prevent noise and dirt from coming inside. The two pieces on »Unfamiliar Home«, each 12 minutes and 44 seconds long, replicate this experience in a way that feels both abstract and concrete. For long stretches it is hardly recognisable which sound material exactly provided the raw material for the two, but in some moments a doorbell or the droning drilling of heavy construction equipment make the situation painfully tangible. This ambivalence gives »Unfamiliar Home« an unheimlich quality in the truest sense of the word: the familiar, even banal, becomes eerie and weird. Everyday life becomes a state of exception and vice versa. Added to this, of course, is a socio-political dimension, which has only become all the more important as the work has matured in parallel to almost exponentially rising rents around Berlin. On several levels, then, this record could hardly be more timely.